Lou Fraser is just one of thousands in Brighton who have said meatless diets are thriving in the city he described as a “promised land”.
“Before I went vegan, I used to think there were no alternatives and I didn’t want to give up cheese,” Lou said.
“But now I go to a supermarket and it’s very easy.”
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Lou is just one of thousands in Brighton who have said meatless diets are thriving in the city she described as a “promised land”.
It was even one of the main reasons the 24-year-old chose to move to the Sussex coast after studying there at university.
He went on to say that his parents and friends back home have begun to ask about the options on offer in Brighton and have also started to change the way they eat.
“I’ve seen it in my parents,” he said.
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“It’s a lot of meat and two kinds of vegetarian people because that’s how they were raised, and that’s how I was raised.
“But now that I’ve gone vegan, there’s a whole new perception of food.
“When I’m not home, they still cook vegan meals, which is crazy to me because before I was vegan we didn’t even eat vegetarian at home.”
In a recent survey, YouGov found that meat-free diets such as veganism and vegetarianism have exploded across the UK in recent years.
In his findings, he revealed that more than a quarter of Britons now think a meat-free diet is a healthier option.
He also suggested that there is a generational influence at play with the percentage of followers increasing as generations get younger.
For example, in Gen Z (2000 onwards), 34 percent of people agreed with the statement that “meatless is healthier,” while for Baby Boomers (1946-1964) the sentiment was reduced at 22 percent.
Yet in Brighton, whose online supermarket Ocado has named the UK’s best place for vegans, support appears to be thriving across the board.
“Meatless alternatives have definitely blossomed recently,” Lou continued.
“In the space of two years, the number of options here is insane compared to before.
“Brighton feels like a hub for all things vegan.”
Lefi Bakou, 28, who works at vegan fried chicken joint Really Happy Chicken, said she has had a similar experience and praised the city for embracing the movement in all walks of life.
“I think Veganuary is thriving in Brighton at the moment,” he said.
“It’s good for everyone: animals, the environment and business. It is a win-win situation.
“For me, I noticed that my body reacted differently when I stopped eating dairy and meat, so I really saw that I was improving as a person in my health.”
In the same way that Lou made her decision, Lefi also said that she moved to Brighton because of its “ethical eating environment”.
However, the journey from his hometown of Athens in Greece went a bit further.
“I see more young people coming and eating vegan food, which is really promising,” added Lefi.
“But I really like the fact that older people come too, like 50s and 60s.
“That is because they are being influenced by their children, I would say.
“They come to eat and they can taste it and they are actually very happy.”
Continuing the general resistance to the generational trend in the city, Stevie Bowerman, 53, said he chose to be a vegetarian “a long time ago, probably when the mad cow thing came out in the ’90s.”
“I started thinking ‘if eating meat and putting meat inside your body can do weird things to your brain, surely that’s a red flag.'”
Although he added that he likes cheese and dairy too much, so he has stuck to a meat-free lifestyle instead of vegan.
“It has become massive here now, and there are several times that I have considered going vegan.
“However, it is a lifestyle choice and not just a meatless diet.
“At the same time, I am very happy to do Veganuary for a month.”
He continued: “When I became a vegetarian, you didn’t worry that there were too many cows in the world, whereas now it seems strange to think that this can contribute to climate change.
“For someone of my generation who surprises you a little.
“Also, when I first became a vegetarian, all you could get was some soy chunks from the health store and that was it.
“These days you can go to Sainsbury’s and there are shelves full of plant-based foods.
“I hate to say it, but I think my generation is the highest point it will reach now. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to persuade my mother.”
Seeming to back up this observation, John Wheeler, 82, and Anne Bennett, 69, agreed when they said they wouldn’t be convinced to change their diets.
However, both also said that they think people are free to choose what they like and both have tried meat-free products before.
John, who had just tried McDonald’s McPlant burger but said he wasn’t a fan, said: “I think people have a right to do what they want.
“I’m not against it at all, you can choose.”
Meanwhile, Anne said several members of her family are vegan or vegetarian, but she and her husband love fish and chicken too much to make the switch.
He also added that it seems sensible and much more common now because it has gotten cheaper, whereas years ago it was more expensive and harder to find.
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